Second Life meets Wikipedia


Linden Labs has gone and open sourced their Second Life client software. Michael Arrington asks whether they’ve gone far enough –

At current growth trends, SL could be a real economic force in a few years. When things really start to hop, SL will look more like it’s own private Internet. Or a privately held virtual nation. At the point that millions of people spend most or all of their waking hours within the SL world, we’ll know this has happened.I think people (and governments) will start to get a little nervous at that point. It will be impossible for SL to put both its shareholders and users first, and history suggests that users will get the shaft. I can image the most bizarre anti-trust lawsuits in history being fought in courtrooms around the world.What might make more sense in the long run is more of a Wikipedia-like approach to Second Life. A non profit organization running open source software where people can add their own island just by plugging in a server in their living room or the hosting provider of their choice. Whoever builds that and provides a serious alternative to the SL experience could help the world at least as much as Wikipedia has.An interesting take, Michael. Certainly one to be taken seriously.

What we need to be cognizant of is the fact that SL is not about to upset the status quo and allow anyone to plug in a server and create their own real estate in world. This would cause a major issue with SL residents who have invested time and money to build up a real estate portfolio.

So SL has only open sourced its client software, not the actual grid. This means that their viewer is now open source under the GNU Public License, but their underlying infrastructure remains proprietary.

One response to “Second Life meets Wikipedia

  1. The base client/server architecture and legacy are orthogonal issues to the open client code. SL is smart to have opened up the code – for one thing, we’ll all rest a lot easier about what the security model looks like – but as Yoick alludes, the idea of making the infrastructure more “open” in the way suggested would wreak havoc on legacy systems and the “collective conscious” of the existing community. Can anyone say, “SWG all over again?”

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